Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Salt Lick Christians

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6(NIV)

Is it possible that the church is going the way of the book and music industry? This is what I mean…their was a hay day when the large record labels owned the market. There was even a day that, Simon and Schuster along with other publishing companies owned the book market. These days are changing aren’t they? In an electronic world where you can self-publish writings and music we are finding that the best art out there is found in the independent or underground market. Amazon has just revealed that e-books are now outselling paper books.

I think the same can be said of churches today. People are tired of the church scene run as an industry. They may still align themselves with a denomination or movement which is a great thing. However, they are finding churches and fellowships (that still may align with their ideals) that are just different. They certainly may not be bigger but people are seeing that church run as a ministry and not as an industry or business all about the money or keeping to themselves.

I have one solid reason that I see as a recurring theme in my life and those I enjoy being with as to why people are looking for something more ministry based and organic. It can be summed up in two words: SALT LICK. Let me explain.

When the apostle Paul wrote this verse above he knew that too much of anything is bad. This came out in a conversation I had with someone regarding our church and ministry “Church at the Pub” (www.churchatthepub.com). Somewhere in the institution of church many (not all) have forgotten what it means to season something. If I have someone over and grill some hamburgers I will ask them how they like their burger seasoned. Inevitably they will say with some salt. You see just a little bit of salt can go a long way. When I am in conversation with someone at the pub or in daily doings, “seasoned with salt” may mean sharing briefly my thought on how God may view this or that. Literally just a few words can make a person know where you are coming from on that topic. This displays so much grace when a person does this. Just a few words can get a person thinking verses a 5 or 10 minute dissertation and the occasional ambush lunch.

What would ruin that hamburger? I believe that if the person asked for some salt and I handed it back to them with a salt lick on it…I have done two things. I have completely mangled the burger (bun and all) causing the person to leave it and be grossed out by it thinking I am the worst cook ever. The same can be said of conversations that don’t display grace. A person at the pub may ask for a little advice and instead of seasoning it with salt making it a great conversation…I end up overloading them with teaching upon teaching, thought upon thought, unsolicited opinion upon unsolicited opinion. What happens? That conversation that could have gone so well now is a unappealing pile of garbage and the person will not want anything to do with me again. What could have been a beautiful conversation is now a pile of yuck.

We have a task to show great grace in our conversations with people.

5 comments:

  1. Well said, Bob. I had a conversation with an individual on Facebook last week that I feel was subjected to the "pile of yuck" you write about from somebody along the way that resulted in a negative opinion of the Christian faith. Great post that all Christians should take to heart.

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  2. Thank you, Tim, I appreciate that.

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  3. I've found it interesting that the people who tend to get really frustrated with me have been the more "fundamental" or dare I say, "legalistic" types. They often see things like facebook and blogs as "evil" like how TV and movies were back in the day and yet now, things are different... Yet my friends who are just every day Joe Shmoes tend to have no problem with my thoughts I perhaps post on facebook or share in a blog. They know that when we get together, it's not going to be me shoving my religion down their throat cause they know me.. and they know I wouldn't do that because I have no agenda to make them like me. Yet somehow we often end up talking about spiritual things, because they know I'm a spiritual person. The funny thing is, I'm hardly EVER the person who brings it up! Thanks for sharing and encouraging people to just be REAL!!

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  4. I always loved watching Little House on the Prairie when they would go to church, it was for encouragement in the FAITH and corporate worship, then they fellowshipped all day with neighbors. What I see a lot of times today is churches forcing massive salt lick blocks down the throats of the people and indoctrinating them rather than living among them and being loving. It's not the responsibility of a pastor to force people to believe like them. imo, it's to protect people from legalism and teach how to live this life by grace and wisdom. But our main Teacher is Christ and we need to remember that. :)

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  5. This reminds me of George MacDonald's series of fictional moral tales. I believe in the great falling away from the church, but that the dislike of religion has happened again, and again, through all of earth's history. Anyway, from George's writings, I get a sense that he had a bad experience with a very unrealist, pompous church authority. His spiritual hero, in every novel, is someone who is acting rightly, but not telling, or showing everyone how they're doing so, and they are not always a Pastor, or Priest. God can save use the clergy, and the layety. God wants the Billy Grahams, but that's not me. I may not save a million souls. He wants me to show a faithful, steady love in the daily tedium: simply trusting, being thoughtful, and appreciating His creation. That some around me may not believe in Him, does not take away from the beauty he has surrounded us with.

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